Thai, U.S. Air Force cadets compete in first bilateral virtual cyber competition
Miguel McAdams & Bruce McGilvery/U.S. Pacific Air Forces
Cadets from the Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy (NKRAFA) and the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) competed for the first time in a “capture the flag” cyber competition in September 2021. The bilateral exchange allowed cadets to analyze network and information systems for signs of cyber intrusions, vulnerabilities or attacks while in a nonadversarial but competitive environment. The future cyber Air Force leaders from Thailand and the U.S. honed their cybersecurity skills in a virtual environment, including tackling technical challenges that required precision and speed.
Cyber professionals, leaders and educators from Headquarters PACAF, the Washington Air National Guard, Royal Thai Air Force Cyber Center, NKRAFA and USAFA spearheaded the competition between cadets separated by thousands of miles. The idea for the event was initiated during the annual Airman-to-Airman Talks that took place in June 2020. (Pictured: Cadets from the Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy, United States Air Force Academy and personnel from the Washington Air National Guard, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and Royal Thai Air Force participate in a cyber competition in September 2021.)
“Our USAFA cadets were honored to participate in this first-ever cyber competition featuring cadets from the USAFA and NKRAFA. We look forward to participating next year as well.” said USAFA Lt. Col. David Merritt.
Thailand is one of the U.S.’s oldest treaty partners in the Indo-Pacific, and bilateral cybersecurity cooperation is an important engagement. Following a September 2021 summit in Washington, D.C., among leaders of the Quad — Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. — the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Thailand published a fact sheet and joint statement by Quad leaders highlighting the development of cyber capabilities as among their key initiatives. The Quad leaders also pledged to bolster critical-infrastructure resilience against cyber threats by engaging experts from their nations to drive domestic and international best practices.
IMAGE CREDIT: ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE CYBER CENTER